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16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence to call for end to murders of women, girls

‘Advocacy efforts to continue throughout the year’

By Rana Husseini - Nov 22,2016 - Last updated at Nov 22,2016

HRH Princess Basma attends an event in Amman on Tuesday to launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign (Petra photo)

AMMAN — “Stop the killing of women and girls” will be the theme of an ongoing campaign that will kick-start the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Jordan, which officially start on November 25th.

“We have witnessed a rise in the number of murders against women and that is why this year’s campaign is calling for the right to life for women in Jordan,” said Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) Secretary General Salma Nims.

“What distinguishes the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign this year is the beginning of a long-term and sustained campaigning throughout the year to stop the murder of women and girls,” Nims said at an event to announce the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the slogan “Stop murders committed against women and girls”.  

The activities are held by the JNCW and Shama’a Network — in collaboration with the UN in Jordan, the Dutch embassy and Al Ghad Arabic daily.

HRH Princess Basma, who attended part of the launch event, told the gathering that she was “adding her voice to the many who are fighting violence against women”.

She also urged the media to be proactive and become the “true catalysts of
change in our society”.

“We want your full support day and night to raise awareness and to make our voices heard for the fight of this just cause, which will hopefully work to decrease the reported cases of domestic violence,” Princess Basma told the gathering.

Dutch Ambassador Paul van den IJseel stressed his country’s commitment towards supporting Jordanian civil society organisations and their programmes that address  gender violence in Jordan.

“Gender equality is essential to creating a successful and democratic society…and I believe men should join the fight to end violence against women and ensure justice for women,” the ambassador said.

Ziad Sheikh, UN Women’s representative to Jordan, said the UN family in Jordan has one message to deliver : “Women’s and girls’ lives matter, and only by working together can we bring lasting change, only by joining forces can we end violence against women”.

It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non-partner, the UN official said. 

However, Sheikh added, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence.

Sheikh stressed the need to constantly address violence against women to try and capture the immense personal struggle and suffering of victims of violence and discrimination, saying: “Our greater challenge is to embrace this cause every day”. 

“The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, reminded us of the responsibility we all have — to leave no one behind, when it comes to gender-based violence. His message couldn’t be more relevant, and I quote: ‘Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act’,” Sheikh told the gathering.

The campaign will include a range of over 300 activities, as well as awareness-raising material targeting civil society such as a short video that will be broadcast 112 times as a TV spot on Jordan Television and Ro’ya TV Channel during the campaign period, as well as radio spots to be broadcast on local radio stations. 

Activities will also include an interactive awareness-raising play and a song that have been produced to raise awareness on the need to end murders of women and girls.

The campaign will further raise awareness and advocacy in all governorates of the Kingdom with over 50 street billboards citing texts from the Koran and the Bible that forbid murder, as well as messages demanding the increase of protection mechanisms for women who are victims of violence. 

Also during the two-hour event, the JNCW launched a petition to collect signatures demanding the amendment of laws that discriminate against women, and calling for improving services for abused women and children, and limiting the jurisdiction of the administrative governors in ordering the detention of women for their own safety because their lives are in danger for reasons related to family honour.

The petition will be available throughout 2017 and will be promoted in all governorates. It can be signed electronically on the following link http://bit.ly/2eVBony.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. 

Participants chose the dates November 25 — the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women — and December 10 — International Human Rights Day — to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates, including International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29, World AIDS Day on December 1, and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre on December 6.

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